Like many of you, I love audiobooks and want to make it my major niche in voiceover. A couple of colleagues recently sent me emails asking advice about obtaining more work in audiobooks. As you might imagine, I wrote a rather lengthy reply from which I will add a condensed version later in this post.
At the moment, though, I want to share some hot news with you. The audiobook publishing industry has changed overnight with Audible’s launch today of a new marketplace to connect audiobook rights holders with producers and narrators — the Audiobook Creation Exchange, or ACX.
ACX launched with over 1000 titles, many of which have real budgets associated with them. You can find titles that interest you and submit an audition, much like the process on Voices.com.
However, ACX does not require a subscription fee from narrators. The thought is that the cream will rise to the top. Narration contracts wouldn’t be awarded to talent who have issues in vocal delivery or sound quality.
As promised, here are 9 more ideas culled from my earlier emails to other voice talent that may help you meet and follow up with audio publishers so you can land work in audiobooks:
1) Obtain publisher contact info and submit your audiobook demo to them. Marketing your audiobook demo is the tried and true, #1 way of getting audiobook work. You can get publisher and producer info from the Audiofile Audiobook Reference Guide (where you can also be listed for a fee) and the Audio Publishers Association, if you’re a member of it. Note that you should not submit a commercial demo to an audiobook publisher.
2) If you already have worked for 1 audiobook publisher, how did you get the gig? Can you replicate those steps to bigger success?
3) LinkedIn searches can lead to work. Have you contacted publishers directly or asked for introductions to them from among your LinkedIn contacts?
4) Volunteer to improve your skills, for instance at LibriVox or for a local organization that reads to the blind. Why not create something because you WANT to, rather than for the money and fame? (The money and fame will come.)
5) I went to Pat Fraley’s audiobook class in 2006. One idea he presented to the class was to suggest a title (ideally with a movie tie-in) and send a custom demo to a publisher.
6) Connect with publishers on social media sites. Commenting on the publishers’ posts on Facebook congratulating them on Twitter, etc. seems like a non-pushy way to follow up and consistently get your name in front of people who may hire you. Also, are you may want to become an active member on the Audiobook Community Facebook page.
7) Think about a value added service you can offer to publishers. How much and what kind of promotion do you do for the other projects you have voiced? How are your video skills? I think if I can show added value to a publisher in marketing, such as by creating a video book trailer, publishers may be more inclined to want to hire me to narrate a book.
8) Start your own audiobook company and sell your offerings as digital downloads through Amazon. With tons of books in the public domain, you just have to look around for suitable books.
9) This last one may sound far-fetched, but give yourself an attitude adjustment every day in the mirror. Tell yourself “this is could be the day that an audiobook publisher offers me a narration contract for an audiobook that will get great reviews.” Things I’ve been speaking into the mirror have been coming to pass!
I know that audiobook work, like everything else in a thriving voiceover career, requires persistence, patience, and an attitude of gratitude. I also know that the more I relax and go with the flow, the more things like lucrative voiceover gigs come to me. I can look back over the last 11 years in voiceover and see where I have tried too hard to make things happen. When you try too hard, you actually push away the good that was on its way.
You and I cannot be denied the good that is on its way to us. If I don’t have something in my reality now, I know it’s on its way to me….like my Grammy for Best Spoken Word after working the ideas in this list!
Can you add some more ideas about gaining work as an audiobook narrator? I’d love to get your comments on the blog!
edited 8/8/12 to fix typo and change link to Audiobook Community